Proteas to make unwanted history?

2016-01-19 12:30
AB de Villiers (Gallo)

Cape Town – Tottering South Africa will emulate their worst Test walloping from England in some 56 years if they crash again in the dead-rubber fourth Test at Centurion from Friday.

Certainly in the post-isolation era, series between the two countries have been renowned for their closeness – in nine preceding this one, starting in 1994, only once has a series been decided by a margin of more than one victory.

That was in the previous series for the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy on English soil in 2012, when Graeme Smith’s charges won a three-match series 2-0 to seize the ICC Test Championship mace from those very foes.

The present Proteas side have already given up the mace – it will now be brandished by one of India or Australia at the completion of the next annual cycle at the end of March – after being humiliated at the Wanderers in three days last weekend to go 2-0 down with one to play.

If the Proteas were to earn a consolation triumph at SuperSport Park, a 2-1 final score in England’s favour would at least be much more in keeping with tight modern hostilities between the countries.

But if they crash again – simultaneously taking their run of Test matches without a victory to double figures – AB de Villiers’s troops would earn the relative ignominy of becoming the first South African team to lose by a 3-0 margin to England since 1960 abroad.

On that occasion Colin Cowdrey’s hosts clinched all of the first three Tests of a five-match series, before the tourists under Jackie McGlew – he died in 1998 – salvaged a morsel of pride with two draws.

One comfort is that the Proteas have already staved off a particularly unpalatable clean sweep in the current series by drawing the high-scoring New Year Test (the second) at Newlands.

The last time they suffered that indignity on home soil (losing all three clashes with Ricky Ponting’s Australians in 2005/06) also remains the only time since unity that the Proteas have ever experienced that.

But if this series does blow out to a 3-0 outcome for Alastair Cook’s side, it would also become South Africa’s worst home defeat to England since as far back as 1913/14, when a five-Test series was won 4-0 by the visitors.

*Even if the Proteas do achieve at Centurion their first Test win since the home West Indies series last summer, they will not be able to improve for the time being on their new, reduced position of third on the ICC rankings ladder.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  ab de villiers  |  cricket


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Previous Results

Date Match Result

Who will win the 4-Test series between hosts South Africa and visitors England over Xmas, New Year and into January 2020?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.